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health expert Dr John

Natural remedies that relieve constipation

Having less than one to three bowel movements in a day is a sign of constipation. Such symptoms should not be ignored, as they might cause a number of other bowel related ailments. In this article we will discuss four natural treatments for constipation that are safe and very effective. These are:

  • Oats
  • Opening of the Ileocecal Valve
  • Flax
  • Senna

    Taking oats and oatmeal regularly works wonders for people suffering from constipation. Oats are rich in both soluble as well as insoluble fiber; you get as much as 8 grams of fiber from one cup of uncooked oatmeal. Oats contain nearly 55 percent soluble and 45 percent insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber, the part of the plant that cannot be broken down by our digestive system, absorbs water and swells. This makes the stool bulky, soft and easy to pass, thus relieving constipation. So, it is advisable to increase your water intake when you are on a fiber rich diet.

    While buying oats, you should go for the “old-fashioned oats” rather than the instant oatmeal, which is often partially cooked and contains sugar and other ingredients. Though the traditional oats take a bit longer to cook, they give better results. Also, you should avoid buying oats in large quantities, as their essential fats go rancid when stored for a long duration. If stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry area they can last for about two months.

    Opening of the Ileocecal Valve

    One of the common reasons for constipation is the malfunction of the ileocecal valve, which is located between the small and large intestine.   The ileocecal valve acts as a block that prevents the toxic contents of the large intestine from entering the small intestine. It does not allow the food products in the small intestine to pass into the large intestine until the digestive process is complete. At times this valve sticks shut and as a result, the feces cannot move from small intestine to the large intestine. This condition causes constipation.

    The ileocecal valve may not function properly due to several reasons. Spicy and roughage-type foods may irritate the valve resulting into its malfunction. Mental stress and emotional trauma also hamper the functioning of ileocecal valve. People who have got their appendix removed often have problems with the valve. However, the good news is that you can easily open up the ileocecal valve by following some simple routines.

    Massaging the ileocecal reflex points:

    Simply rub the points illustrated in the picture, to unstick your ileocecal valve. Massage the illustrated areas with firm pressure of about 10 to 20 seconds to get the desired effect. Make it a point not to massage the points any longer than that, as it may negate the effect.

    Detoxify: Some toxic food products get stuck in your intestines and cause constipation symptoms. To detoxify these products you can use chlorophyll, which is easily available at any health food store. Take either two capsules or tablets or half teaspoon of chlorophyll every two hours for about six to eight hours. Take the same amount with each meal for the next three to four days. This routine will detoxify your intestines to a large extent.

    Change your eating habits: To get rid of constipation, abstain from spicy foods, alcohol, cocoa, chocolate and caffeinated products for at least a week. Taking additional calcium and vitamin D also helps in relieving constipation.


    Flaxseed is one of the best remedies for constipation. It has been used for centuries to treat bowel related problems. About six to 12 percent of the whole seed is mucilage, which is a slimy, gum-like compound that provides a soothing and protective coating inside our digestive tract. It adds bulk and softness to stool and thus relieves constipation. These properties of Flaxseed also make it a potent healer of stomach and intestinal inflammation.

    Flaxseed is easily available at your nearest health food store and the good thing is that it is not very costly. Before using the seeds make sure to crush, grind or break them; otherwise they pass through your digestive tract intact without giving you any benefit. You can use small coffee grinders or blenders to crush these seeds. Grind the seeds as and when you use them. If you store the ground seeds, their precious oils oxidize and go rancid.

    Drink plenty of water when you consume ground flaxseed as the fiber in them soaks up a lot. Drinking lots of water with flaxseed will definitely relieve your constipation, but be careful because if you don’t drink enough water when you take flax seed your constipation may worsen.


    Senna (Cassia angustifolia and Cassia acutifolia) is an effective remedy for constipation; however, it can have some minimal self-limiting side effects. In some cases it causes diarrhea, abdominal pain or nausea. These side effects can easily be neutralized by adding certain herbs to the senna preparation. To prepare one such combination, boil one litre of water and turn off the heat. Then add half teaspoon each of caraway seeds, fennel seeds, peppermint leaves and senna leaves.   Allow the mixture to settle for 15 minutes and then filter the residue using cheesecloth. Take one cup of this liquid in the morning and another at night and you will definitely get relief from constipation.

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